In many countries there are groups of expats from all over the world who retire to find a dream home and place in the sun. Now, new research shows that the Algarve in Portugal is the ideal location.
The region has more than 100,000 resident expat retirees who love its medieval towns, fishing villages, markets, wine, beaches and weather, according to the annual Retire Overseas Index from online magazine Live and Invest Overseas.
In second place is Cuenca in Ecuador, followed by George Town in Malaysia, Chiang Mai in Thailand, Dumaguete in the Philippines, Pau in France, Medellin in Columbia, Abruzzo in Italy, City Beaches in Panama, and Istanbul in Turkey.
Cuenca, a colonial city in the highlands of Ecuador, is described as having a spring like climate all year round and a low cost of living. The index says healthcare is high quality and inexpensive and the country offers user-friendly retiree residency options.
George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is described as a busy, thriving city with a large expat community that has managed to retain its colonial charm. The report says it is affordable with a tropical climate, an intriguing culture, and is largely English speaking.
Chiang Mai has been luring expats from the West for many years with its low cost of living and weather. The report also says it has high quality health care, modern infrastructure and an abundance of Western amenities.
Dumaguete is a seaside university town that has cultural opportunities, with international standard healthcare in nearby Cebu. The primary appeal for the would-be retiree is a super-low cost of living. A retired couple could live on as little as US$1,000 per month.
Pau in south west France, close to the Pyrenees, has one of the highest ratios of greenery per square meter per person of any European city. It is described as ideal for expat retirees who can’t afford Paris or the South of France. The index says a retired couple could live on US$2,000 per month.
The industrial, economic and financial centre of Colombia, Medellin is also described as a literary and artistic city. The cost of living is affordable, though not super-cheap, the report says. The medical care is described as ‘excellent’, with five of the 35 best hospitals in Latin America located in the city.
Abruzzo is named as one of Italy’s secrets. It has golden beaches, the sea, mountains and is not overcrowded. The report says life hasn’t changed much over the years and calls it one of Europe’s best bargains. A couple could retire on as little as US$2,000 per month or less, including rent.
City Beaches, two hours west of Panama City, is the most developed, established, and fully appointed beach community in the country. According to the index, it offers a high quality beach lifestyle. The former weekend retreat is evolving into a fully-fledged retirement community with an established population of full-time foreign residents supported by a developed infrastructure, including good medical facilities.
Istanbul is described as being ‘exceedingly affordable’, perhaps the best place in the world to enjoy city living on a budget. The index says a couple could retire on a budget of as little as US$1,100 per month.
The index, which names the 21 best places to retire overseas in 2014 rates the Algarve highly for safety, infrastructure and healthcare. Portugal ranks as the 17th safest country in the world and the country has seen important infrastructure investments recently, specifically to do with the country’s highway network and airports, making it a great base for exploring all of Europe and Northern Africa.
Portugal’s health care is of an international standard, and medical tourism is a growing industry in the region. Also, due to the country’s strong historic and cultural links with England, English is spoken more widely in the country in general and even more so in the Algarve than you might expect.
The index also points out that the cost of living in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe; on average 30% lower than in any other country. A retired couple could live in the Algarve comfortably but modestly on a budget of as little as $1,500 per month.